Sunday, March 29, 2009

Excelsior Pass 3/28/2009

Even though the forecast made it obvious there will be no spectacular views awaiting hikers and snowshoers in the mountains this weekend, we decided to give Excelsior Pass a go. If nothing else, we knew we'll get a nice workout out of it.

We found the road clear all the way to the trailhead and just a little bit of snow covering the beginning part of the trail. We followed relatively recent snowshoe track for a while, which made the first part very easy and quite fast going.

With elevation gained the snow started to cumulate. It appears the people who left the tracks turned way before they reached the pass and even though we still could see evidence of previous visitors, now we followed way older tracks partially covered by fresh snow and started to dip deeper and deeper. Postholing to our knees was not much fun and snowshoes went on after gaining approximately 2000 feet of elevation.

Soon afterwards we left the original summer trail and continued straight up the hill. For most of the way we were in deep fresh powder and even with snowshoes on we still kept sinking pretty deep. Fortunately short parts of the route were little bit crusty giving our legs some relief but this usually did not last long. There were few steeper parts where we really had to fight with snowdrifts, it was more like snowcrawling than snowshoeing at that point but in a way it was actually really fun and for sure it kept us warm.

With combined effort (Aaron broke probably over half of the trail, the rest of us split the other half) we reached the little view point next to the pass at 3:00 p.m. As expected we did not see far but the winter conditions made the forest around us looked pretty cool and the lack of views did not bothered us

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